Warren targets supermarket chains over high food prices
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) said in a letter to leadership at Kroger, Albertson’s and Publix that the grocery store chains are profiting off of struggling American families during the pandemic.
“While many Americans faced the loss of jobs, homes, and loved ones during the COVID-19 pandemic, grocery companies like yours saw immense gains through record sales and profits,” Warren wrote.
“Your company, and the other major grocers who reaped the benefits of a turbulent 2020, appear to be passing costs onto consumers to preserve your pandemic gains, and even taking advantage of inflation to add greater burdens,” she said.
The senator added that the stores “continued to earn massive profits while pushing grocery cost increases onto consumers” in 2021.
“Your companies had a choice: they could have retained lower prices for consumers and properly protected and compensated their workers, or granted massive payouts to top executives and investors,” Warren said. “It is disappointing that you chose not to put your customers and workers first.”
The Hill has reached out to Kroger, Albertson’s and Publix for comment.
Warren’s letter comes after inflation in the U.S. hit the highest rate seen in decades.
Consumer prices in November surged 6.8 percent, marking the highest annual inflation rate seen since 1982 as supply chains have struggled during the pandemic.
Prices for food were notably up 6.1 percent for the year including 6.4 percent for food from grocery stores and 5.8 percent at restaurants.
Earlier this month, President Biden said that he believes the U.S. is currently at “the peak” of inflation.
“It’s a real bump in the road. It does affect families when you walk into a grocery store and you’re paying more for whatever you’re purchasing — it matters,” Biden told CNN.
At the time, Biden added that he believed inflation would drop with the Build Back Better Act, a plan that was effectively killed when Sen. Joe Manchin (D- W.Va.) announced on Sunday that he would not support it.